I have told my reader, in the preceding chapter, that Mr Allworthy inherited a large
fortune; that he had a good heart, and no family. Hence, doubtless, it will be concluded by
many, that he lived like an honest man, owed no one a shilling, took nothing but what was
his own, kept a good house, entertained his neighbours with a hearty welcome at his table,
and was charitable to the poor, i.e. to those who had rather beg than work, by giving them
the offals from it; that he dy'd immensely rich and built a hospital.
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And true it is that he did many of these things; but, had he done nothing more, I should
have left him to have recorded his own merit on some fair free-stone over the door of that
hospital. Matters of a much more extraordinary kind are to be the subject of this history, or I
should grossly misspend my time in writing so voluminous a work; and you, my sagacious
friend, might with equal profit and pleasure, travel through some pages, which certain droll
authors have been facetiously pleased to call The History of England.
Mr Allworthy had been absent a full quarter of a year in London, on some very particular
business, tho' I know not what it was; but judge of its importance, by its having detained him
so long from home, whence he had not been absent a month at a time during the space of